THERE was a time when Terra Lightfoot was too embarrassed to sell her album in the music store where she worked.
These days the Canadian singer-songwriter is jet-setting around the globe promoting her brand of blues and folk-inspired rock.
“I worked in a guitar shop and everyone was so excited and they wanted me to sell the CD at the counter, but I was too embarrassed,” Lightfoot said.
“I’m certainly more confident, but I don’t think I would sell it even now if I worked there.”
Australia is the latest frontier Lightfoot is attempting to captivate. Back in her homeland the Ontario-raised musician enjoyed breakthrough success in 2015 with the release of her acclaimed second album Every Time My Mind Runs Wild.
Lightfoot’s multi-octave mezzo-soprano and crunching guitar sound quickly made her a live favourite and ended her days in retail.
On Tuesday Lightfoot and her band touched down in Sydney for her first Australian tour. The two-week visit will involve supporting Bellbird’s William Crighton.
Australian Music Week director Geoff Trio booked Lightfoot for the tour after seeing her perform in the US last year. At the time Lightfoot was unfamiliar with Crighton’s work, but accidentally saw him perform later at Canadian Music Week.
“I saw his set, I didn’t know who he was, but I thought it was really cool,” Lightfoot said.
“I went up and said ‘hi’ and thought nothing of it. Later somebody was like ‘hey, you’re touring with Will Crighton’. And he was that guy I saw.”
Three weeks ago Lightfoot released her third album New Mistakes, which takes her ’70s Americana sound in a grander and more rock direction.
Since the release of Every Time My Mind Runs Wild, Lightfoot has toured non-stop around North America and Europe, and New Mistakes was completely written on the road.
“The last one was definitely more of a soul-rock record and this one is unapologetically rock or blues,” she said. “It’s the band playing together.
“To me it’s a much more exciting record and a much better written record. I gave it way more attention and I did everything for this record with intention.
“The last one was more of a happy mistake. This one I wanted to present it exactly the way it is, so I’m really proud of it.”
One unmistakable characteristic of Lightfoot’s album is her guitar sound, which has been compared to John Fogerty and Van Morrison.
It’s no accident. The 31-year-old has played the same guitar, an 1972 Gibson SG, almost exclusively since she was 17. “Veronica” is like a soul mate.
“So when I play it, it’s easy to get the tones I want because it’s like playing an extension of myself,” she said. “I’ve got other ones, but I don’t care about them.
“Most people have their instrument, but they’ll play other ones. I don’t like to play other ones. I bring others on the road, but nothing is as good as Veronica.”
Terra Lightfoot supports William Crighton at the Central Bar on Friday.